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July 15, 2007

Possibility One: Sekhmet

I was on my way to my first ADF ritual with some friends, and we stopped at a Pagan store on the way because the one near the Grove we were visiting was better than the ones in our city.

I was flipping through the book The Golden Cauldron – the combination of the title and the image of Thoth on the cover intrigued me. I’d considered myself a Celtic/Welsh Druidic Pagan for about four years at this point and associated the symbol of the cauldron with that tradition, but since I was seven I’d had this thing for Ancient Egypt. . . did this book combine the cultures somehow?

Sometimes when you ask questions, you get Answers.

I opened to the Sekhmet page and I felt like I was struck by lightning. I suddenly just knew I was profoundly connected to this goddess. It wasn’t that She made lay claim to me right then, it was more a notification to me of established fact.

So, yeah, the day I discovered ADF was the day a non-IE goddess declared Her connection to me. “Complicated” is a decent one-word summary of my spiritual life for the past decade.

Possibility Two: Taliesin

Move forward a few years. I became very involved in ADF. I loved working with the Nature Spirits and the Ancestors, and I loved the fact that many Egyptian deities were happy to work with me. I did not love the fact that when I spent a semester studying in the UK and making numerous pilgrimage trips, I never felt the presence of any Celtic deities, never had any contact whatsoever, nothing.

That hurt, profoundly.

I’d made contacts in the Celtic pantheons eventually, but they were few and rather distant relationships.

Finally, I lost it. In a trance journey to the Otherworld, I climbed up on a rock and psychically “shouted” into the darkness that I felt for many reasons that I had been called to the ADF Druid path, but my lack of relationships with Celtic deities despite all my work was really causing me to doubt if I belonged. I said that I was seriously considering leaving, and if They wanted me to stay, a Celtic patron to counterbalance the strong pull from my Egyptian patron would really help.

I didn’t really expect anything to come of that right away. I knew it was a foolhardy, reckless thing to do. I was desperately unhappy – for so long I’d felt that I was being torn in two, and there was no end in sight. I figured if I did wind up leaving, explaining why would be polite.

I certainly didn’t think that childish threats to go away if I didn’t get what I wanted would allow me to extort anything from the Shining Ones. That wasn’t how I meant it at all, but I knew it could easily be read that way. . . and that I might have just caused very great offense.

Well, it’s not like I was getting anywhere through the usual methods anyway. I had little to lose.

So, in my trance, I flop down next to the Otherworld fire and stare at it, feeling the emptiness that flows in after you’ve expressed passionate emotions. I’d just poured a lot of myself out there.

Someone walked from the darkness into the firelight and sat down on the rock I’d used as my soapbox.

No, this wasn’t just Someone, it was Someone. Often the Shining Ones will choose to appear very approachable, very matter-of-fact, very Being-next-door in the Otherworld.
If They didn’t, there’s a real limit to how much of a relationship humans could develop with Them.

Sometimes They show us something closer to Their true selves.

This was a strange mix of the two. The Someone didn’t make a majestic or intimidating entrance. He just calmly walked in out of nowhere, sat down, and looked at me, in a pleasant and considering way. All the while He was almost palpably radiating power, brilliance, cunning and restraint, with some amusement mixed in, apparently caused by both me and Himself.

I was motionless – stunned and overwhelmed.

After a few moments, He pulled a lap harp from somewhere in the folds of His cloak, and began to play. A little ways into the lilting melody He shifted His attention from the strings back to me and casually asked, “Do you know Who I am?”

He wore a dark cap that held His hair back in a way that accented his forehead as a strong facial feature. I said with great certainty, “You’re Taliesin”.

That was the right answer.

Some of the details of the conversation that followed escape me, but the gist was that He was willing to work with me as a teacher in the short term and see how we got along together. Then He sang me a very funny song about cats (though when I tried to remember the words and write them down later they didn’t make much sense), and told me to go home and go to sleep.

He has since then chosen to maintain a relationship with me, and kept to that choice even when I did wind up leaving ADF to focus on Kemetic work, and when I went on an indefinite spiritual sabbatical.

He is with me still, and here I am, back in ADF.

I won’t say that our relationship hasn’t been strained – things are pretty damned awkward right now, to be totally honest – but there’s a connection between us that can’t be broken.

This started as a comment on someone’s entry on the dedicants lj and grew to become its own thing, so I moved it over here. Part of me would really like to move the Sekhmet section to another post and make this one just about Taliesin, to make Him the sole focus as I give Him the gift of writing and sharing the story about how we came to work together.

The story doesn’t hang together right if I do that, though. Some sense of the conflict I felt that drove me to stand up like an idiot on that rock in the Otherworld needs to be understood to make what follows have full meaning.

What kind of student would I be if I failed to tell a tale the way it needs to be told to be itself?

Sekhmet is dear to me in many ways, and our connection should not be diminished; but Taliesin – I tell this story for You.

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